With all of the craziness of today - the Pirates are buyers, the Orioles are much, much worse, WILSON RAMOS! - it was easy to forget that there was an actual baseball game to be played. Of course, tonight’s game couldn’t begin without a teensy bit of controversy since Odubel Herrera wasn’t in the lineup, sitting
because of his game last night because a lefty was one the mound for Boston in the form of Drew Pomeranz. The local radio personalities’ cackles for his benching sated, the Phillies could now focus on splitting a series and ending a four game losing streak.
It didn’t start out well for the Phillies, as Carlos Santana became the latest player to commit a TOOTBLAN on the bases, trying to steal a double on Andrew Benintendi in the first, but he was thrown out and left the Phillies with only a man on third and two outs instead of men on the corners with one out. What happened? You guessed it: man left on base. That brought Jake Arrieta to the mound.
Arrieta seemed to be a little wild in the first, but boy howdy did he get bailed out by a fine play. When the Red Sox attempted a double steal with men on the corners with two outs, Cesar Hernandez alertly threw home to catch Benintendi trying to score, keeping the game scoreless.
In the second, the Phillies struck first when Jorge Alfaro doubled home Maikel Franco to put them ahead 1-0. That score would stay the same until the fourth when Scott Kingery hit a sacrifice fly that drove in Franco again, though the play was quite close thanks to a rocket from Jackie Bradley, Jr. that almost cut down the non-sliding Franco. That was all Arrieta would need.
The Red Sox would score on an RBI groundout in the sixth, but Arrieta was so good tonight. His final line - 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K on 94 pitches - was especially impressive, given how good this lineup is. His fastball, slider, cutter, everything was moving. It was an outstanding performance that showed why the team was willing to ante up for him in the offseason. It also hints that Arrieta’s best might still be to come this year, as he’s historically been a better pitcher in the second half than in the first (3.12 ERA after All-Star break in career vs. 3.86 before).
After he exited the game, Tommy Hunter locked down the eighth (his second straight impressive performance), using his defense effectively and sitting down the top of the Red Sox order. ThePhillies got an insurance run in the ninth thanks to Carlos Santana singling in Rhys Hoskins. Seranthony Dominguez, despite letting the first two men on, went to work in the ninth and secured his 11th save.
The win snapped the losing streak and ensures the team will enter August in sole possession of first place, amazing considering all the ways the team can improve during the final two months. Buckle up, Phillies fans. It’s going to be a fun ride.